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would be false, for none of the human race would ever attain final holiness and happiness ;, but rather annihilationunless it can be shown that final holiness and happiness, and annihilation are one and the same thing, which we pre- . sume, no sane person will ever attempt to establish... : We have, as we think, shown that the soul must necessarily enter upon its rewards at death, and that the doctrine is of sufficient importance to occupy a place in the system of divine Revelation; notwithstanding it is too obscure to the understanding of Universalists to form any precise opinion upon it, or too insignificant to stand in the same category with the other articles of their faith. .
2. The greater part of Universalists adhere to the opin-' ion, that the human race will necessarily be made partakers of final holiness and happiness in the resurrection. Certain of their writers speak in this wise. A. C. Thomas says, “In the resurrection, universal humanity will walk forth in the beauty of holiness, redeemed and regenerated by the quickening spirit of the living God.” Hosea Ballou declares, “ That the resurrection power, which brought : again from the dead the Lord Jesus Christ, will finally, in him, make the whole human family gloriously immortal and incorruptible.” As we shall have occasion to go more fully into an examination of the resurrection in the proper place, since this doctrine is magnified into so much importance by Universalists as to supplant the necessity of repentance, faith and a holy life in order to secure heaven, we shall pass it by in this place after quoting a few passages of Scripture.
The Bible most evidently draws a distinction of character in those who shall be raised from the dead. “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”. Dan. xii. 2. .“ Marvel not at this: for the
hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation." John v. 28, 29. “But every man in his own order, Christ the first-fruits; afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming.” 1 Cor. xv. 23. Now if these passages do not teach a moral distinction of character in the resurrection, then language is not a proper symbol to express such an idea. That they refer to the future state shall claim our attention more particularly hereafter.
3. There are those who claim to belong to the category of Universalists, and believe in a future punishment, but limited in duration; however, they are equally certain that all mankind will eventually reap final holiness and happiness. This was the starting point of the system of Universalism, as advocated by John Murray, Chauncy, Huntington, Winchester, and others, who were the first propagators of this error; but gradually a position has been assumed that gives a broad denial of all the vital doctrines of Revelation. We protest against the doctrine of Restorationism for the following reasons.
1. This doctrine invests the pains of hell with a greater saving virtue than the blood of Christ. If future punishment can accomplish what the blood of Christ could not effect, then the pains of hell have more efficacy than the atonement of Christ and the Scripture must be untrue, that Christ is the only way to the Father. If hell is to the human family a purgatory, through which all must pass in order to reach the Páradise of God, then the blood of Christ is unavailing and worthless, and all the tragical scenes of Calvary, and the sufferings of Christ are nothing more than a melancholy farce and a bold imposition on the credulity of the world, unbecoming the truth and reproachful to God.
Nothing then is adequate to restore fallen man to the image of his God but the pains and sorrows of the second death. If Restorationism be true then God is the Father of lies in procuring the provisions of grace and offering them as the only medium of salvation, when in fact they were never designed for this purpose nor suitable to it; but that hell should accomplish this desirable end; which it might have accomplished just as well without the atonement of Christ. However shocking and blasphemous such results may appear when dressed in their proper language, they are, nevertheless, the legitimate offspring of a limited future punishment, as the chosen and heaven-appointed means, to restore the family of mankind to the enjoyment of final holiness and happiness.
2. It awards the praises and hallelujahs of heaven for final and eternal salvation, to the flames of hell, and not to the Lord Jesus, as the Scriptures represent. Indeed, what will be the sweetest note in the song of the redeemed for salvation, on the ground of Restoration-salvation; not glory to Christ who has saved us with his own precious blood; but glory, and honor, and power to the pains of hell, ye have purged us from sin while we paid the debt by drinking the cup of sorrow and torture. Worthy is hell to receive the praise; but the Lamb is unworthy. Does this accord with the tenor of the Bible, or is the Bible a cunningly devised fable, designed to delude the souls of men? Admitting the divine inspiration and consequent authority of the Bible, we must believe the scripture when it says, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers ; but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter i. 18, 19. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book and open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Rev. v. 9, 10. If all praise is ascribed to Christ for salvation on earth, how much sweeter and nobler shall the holy anthem swell and roll along the mountain of His holiness in the land of interminable delight?
3. It destroys and spurns the covenant of mercy in all its provisions and its ultimate design. Did the Lord demand repentance of sins, and faith in Christ as terms of salvation? If the purgatory of hell procures salvation for the human family, there is no intrinsic value in repentance and faith. Has the blood of Christ been appointed to cleanse from sin and enstamp holiness on the heart? If the flames of hell burn out sin and restore to holiness and happiness, then there is no immediate use for the blood of Christ and it is not “precious.” Has the covenant of grace promised a Mediator to plead the cause of poor sinners before the throne of God, to prolong life, to pardon for his own sake, and consider them the purchase of his blood ? If the damned in hell can pay the debt by suffering the penalty of a broken law, and magnify it, and claim heaven on the score of debt, then there is no need of an intercessor. Did God establish his kingdom of grace, and the mediatorial reign of Christ on the earth as the limit of human salvation, and called it the acceptable time? If Restorationism be true, then God has been 'mistaken in his counsels, for after ages of penal sufferings in the future world, heaven may be gained and endless happiness may be secured.
4. It can not show how long the damned will suffer, whether thousands, or millions of years, or so many days, therefore it can not measure the desert of sin; which sin is the most criminal; and who is the greatest sinner; and whether the human race shall suffer more or less than divine justice demands.
All this system pretends to elucidate, is, that the sufferings of the damned will at some time terminate. The duration of despair and punishment will be indefinite, and for aught that Restorationism knows to the contrary millions of ages will be the measurement of future woe. How great the criminality of sin is and how much punishment for each sin Justice demands, cannot be found out in the arithmetic of this system. As human demerit can not be computed, so neither does it form any proper conception of the extent of human responsibility. It leaves truth, justice, sin and punishment at loose ends.
Having thus stated briefly the dissimilarity of the opinions of those who adhere to the faith, that finally, the whole human family will necessarily be constituted holy and happy, we wish now to investigate some of the arguments adduced in favor of this proposition, and shall endeavor to disprove it, and show that the Bible deprecates a system so much at war with its own principles and with sound reason.
WHAT IS HOLINESS ? It may be very important to have some definite idea of what holiness is, in order to comprehend the subject as wise men, and not as fools. Holiness in God is absolute and unoriginated, and it consists in that specific nature of God, which causes him involuntarily to hate sin and injustice, and approve of whatever is right. Therefore God loves purity, innocence and uprightness, while whatever is at war with his law and character, is an abomination in his sight.
In whatever degree the powers of the soul were originals, ly pure and free from all moral imperfections ; yet all ac-.. ceptable holiness in man must necessarily be derived from